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30 Years Ago

Wednesday, March 30, 2022
filed under: Historical

        ‘An Option That Brings Flexibility’ — “As many High Plains producers have known for years, the undercutter and sunflower can go hand-in-hand to accomplish the twin goals of meeting soil conservation mandates while boosting yield by helping retain field moisture. . . .
        “ ‘The key is using an undercutter tillage tool that features 16- to 32-inch flat blade sweeps,’ says Al Black, research leader and laboratory directory for the USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Center at Mandan, N.D.  ‘For example, after two tillage passes in wheat stubble, 50 to 60 percent of all crop residue is left on the soil surface with this tool.
        “ ‘An undercutter not only saves 75 to 80 percent more soil from wind and water erosion, but also improves moisture infiltration,’ adds Black, who has conducted pioneer research with the technique.  ‘Another benefit is yield.  Research shows this conservation tillage practice delivers an average of 300 pounds more sunflower per acre compared to conventional tillage.’ ”   
        Market Loan Decision Time Fast Approaching / By Jay Hesley — “Roughly 96 percent of this past year’s oilseed sunflower production and 84 percent of confection sunflower production ended up using the loan deficiency payment (LDP) or the 0-92 deficiency payment option.  The remaining portions of the ’91 crop . . . were placed under loan.  In July of this year, 33 percent of the confection seed and 50 percent of the oil-type sunflower seed under loan will reach maturity.
        “At any time prior to loan maturity, the producer has the option to repay the loan at the weekly announced loan repayment rate (LRR).  So the producer with sunflower under loan should first consider the cash market.  Will cash prices go above the loan before loan maturity?  If the direction of the market appears to be heading higher, the best option then is to pay back the loan early and maximize the difference between the loan rate and the LRR.
        “Production placed under the loan is classified into two general categories: warehouse-stored or farm-stored.  Both classifications have similar marketing options but different methods of calculating the final sale price.”
        South Dakotan Fires Back at the Blackbirds / By Don Lilleboe — “Clark County, S.D., farmer Vance Neuberger doubles as an educator with a mission.  His classroom doesn’t have any blackboards, but it does have blackbirds.
        “Neuberger’s classroom consists of his east central South Dakota sunflower fields, and his students are the tens of thousands of blackbirds who come to forage in those fields.  His mission?  Educating the birds as to why they’d be better off someplace else.  His teaching tools?  Propane boomers, light-activated taped distress calls, a 223 Ruger semi-automatic rifle —and as of last fall, hundreds of specially manufactured explosives.
        “His combat strategy took a new twist last year with the introduction of the ‘big ban’ explosives.  The bombs, which are set and lit on a level surface next to the sunflower field, produce a charge which explodes about 75 to 100 feet in the air.  The smaller of his two bomb sizes contains 11 grams of powder in its lift charge and another 10 grams in the explosive itself; for the larger bomb, it’s 19 and 34 grams of powder respectively.  The bombs scare feeding birds up from the field, and Neuberger then harasses them further by firing his rifle into the airborne flocks.
        “Does it work?  Neuberger says his offensive definitely helps alleviate bird damage — though he’s also quick to state it’s not a total solution.  ‘In conjunction with the other controls I use (rifle, propane boomer, etc.), I think it’s a very good tool,’ he says.  The key, Neuberger believes, is to begin harassment of local bird populations early (mid-August).”
        “Such explosives [as the bombs] are illegal for the average citizen to use.  So Neuberger contacted his local state representative and asked him to introduce a bill in the 1990/91 session of the South Dakota Legislature — a bill that would allow holders of special permits to use Class B explosives for control of blackbird depredation in sunflower fields during the approximately 60-day period from mid-August to mid-October.  This bill passed with only minor opposition and was signed into law by Gov. George Mickelson.
        “Neuberger then had to locate a fireworks manufacturer who could and would construct the specific types of explosives he needed. [The] South Dakota producer learned he also would need a federal license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF).  He further discovered that a special BATF-approved steel-lined container would have to be built if he was to store the explosives on his property overnight — as well as a similar but smaller container for transporting the explosives in his truck.”
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